EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland confirmed Trump’s Ukraine quid pro quo and provided a step by step progression of how the demands evolved.
Via the impeachment investigation transcript of Sondland’s testimony:
Q: When did you first get an inkling of what Mr. Giuliani was interested in?
A: You know, this whole thing was sort of a continuum, starting at the May 23rd meeting, ending up at the end of the line when the transcript of the call came out. And as I said to counsel, it started as talk to Rudy, then others talk to Rudy. Corruption was mentioned. Then, as time went on—and, again, I can’t nail down the dates—then let’s get the Ukrainians to give a statement about corruption.
And then, no, corruption isn’t enough, we need to talk about the 2016 election and the Burisma investigations. And it was always described to me as ongoing investigations that had been stopped by the previous administration and they wanted them started up again. That’s how it was always described.
And then finally at some point I made the Biden-Burisma connection, and then the transcript was released. So I can’t tell you on that continuum when, what dates, but that’s kind of what happened. … Because the first time I recall hearing about 2016 and Burisma was during the negotiations of the press statement. Again, unless there’s some text that I’ve completely have [sic] forgotten about, that’s when I first remember getting into those issues. It was always just about corruption prior to that. It kept—it kept getting more insidious as [the] timeline went on, and back in July, it was all about just corruption. …
The continuum was, first of all, an unconditional phone call and an unconditional invitation to the White House, and then I believe the next part of the continuum was some kind of a commitment to investigate corruption generally. And then the next part of the continuum was talking about the Burisma and the 2016 election, which as I recall, was heavily discussed during the negotiation of the short-lived press statement, which only lasted a few days, and then it died.
And then at the end of that continuum I became aware that there might be a link between the White House visit and aid to the Ukraine that was being held up when I couldn’t get a straight answer as to why the aid was being held up, both Senator Johnson and Ambassador Taylor raised the possibility that there might be a link. And then the aid was released, and then this whole thing blew up. That’s the best I can recall the sort of progression.
The big statement from Sondland was him telling the president of Ukraine, “I said that resumption of the U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.”
Quid pro quo.
Sondland also testified that he couldn’t get a straight or consistent answer from anyone as to why the Ukraine military aid was being held up. There is also a damning part of Sondland’s testimony where he discusses how Trump told him to talk to Rudy Giuliani about Ukraine policy.
There was a quid pro quo. Sondland confirmed it, and the transcript of his testimony is another nail in the Trump impeachment coffin.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association